In Canada, Suburban Transit-Oriented Development on the Rise

Transit expansions are providing incentives to companies to locate outside of city centers, upending traditional housing, work, and commute patterns.

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August 6, 2019, 11:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink


Toronto GO Transit

ValeStock / Shutterstock

"Rather than shuttling commuters between bedroom communities and downtown offices, the latest transit-oriented developments, or TODs, are focusing on the dual benefits of consistent transit use and economic development outside major city centres," writes Adam Bisby.

The goal, says Bisby, is to create transit-oriented development (TOD) hubs around stations that support a mix of housing and commercial development and that encourage bidirectional travel to keep these areas constantly active. "While Canada ‘has not pushed commercial TOD enough,’ according to [Ahmed] El-Geneidy, progress is being made where major transit expansions are now under way," notes Bisby. 

The announcement of rail extensions and new projects, including the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) light rail system in the Montreal area and Hurontario Light Rail Transit (LRT) in the Toronto area, have sparked suburban development surges. The benefits for employers are lower rents and employee retention in suburban areas with transit access that provide the amenities of downtown centers.

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